Scrambling Success

Many manufacturers had traveled down the scrambler-style street-oriented route before Honda, including BSA and Triumph. None of them, though, were as successful as Honda and their CL350 model.

Honda introduced two entirely new models to the range in 1968 with the CB350 Super Sport and CL350 Scrambler. Despite their model designation these are not 350cc, but 324cc. Engines in the CB and CL are basically identical in construction detail. The Scrambler, however, has a lower peak power output of 33 horsepower at 9,500rpm compared to the Super Sport’s claimed 36 horsepower at 10,500rpm. The CL’s lower power rating is due to its exhaust system: The high-rise headers might look thick but they are in fact double-walled pipes with a narrower interior tube. Add the CL’s more restrictive muffler and lower peak rpm and you get its slightly lower power output over the CB.

Honda built the CB and CL350s until 1973, and if you include the SL variants the entire series sold some 626,000 examples. That’s no insignificant number of motorcycles. At one time these bikes were literally everywhere, and thousands of young riders got their first taste of powered two-wheel freedom aboard either a CB350 or CL350 Honda.

As with most Honda CL models, the collector value is much higher than for the CB equivalent, especially in Europe where few of these were even seen let alone sold!

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issued: Friday, January 07, 2022
updated: Friday, January 07, 2022

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